Tampa Bay Lightning LW Marty St. Louis: "I feel bad for Tocchet. I wish him the best"
Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Marty St. Louis made a bit of news earlier this week when he seemed to say he might ask for a trade if he does not believe the team's rebuilding effort this summer turns the Lightning into a playoff contender. It's not a difficult equation. St. Louis will turn 35 in June. He has one year left on his contract. And as he said, "I'm not getting any younger." But St. Louis had much more to say that day. He spoke of former coach Rick Tocchet, the thrill of playing next to Steven Stamkos and how difficult was a third consecutive season out of the playoffs. Also, an interesting silence concerning fired general manager Brian Lawton.
Here is his entire interview:
On the firing of coach Rick Tocchet: Obviously, the results were bad the last three years, so there's always going to be changes. I think it's part of the business. You're judged on results. I feel bad for Tocc. I think he worked hard. I wish we could have gotten better results for him, and I wish him the best.
On if it was time for a change: I mean, it's not my decision, but when you get the results you had the last little while, you know, you have a feeling there's going to be changes. Us, as players, we just have to get ready for next year and see who comes in and what's going to be. It's not in our control. We just have to worry about ourselves.
On if the changes were on-ice related or simply because of new ownership: I think it was a little bit of both. With new ownership you always feel that even if you have good results you don't know which way they're going to go. And when you have the results that we did this year, you just have a feeling it's going to go that way.
On Tocchet: Tocc has been nothing but good for me. He's a hard-working guy. He's a hard-nosed guy. I wish it didn't come down to this, but you've been in this league for a while and you kind of sense these things. You feel bad because Tocchet is a great guy, and he really put his heart and soul into what he was trying to do here. It just didn't work out. It's unfortunate, but it's the nature of the business.
On friction between Tocchet and Lawton: That's something that as a player we can't worry about that. We read what's in the papers. We're not told what's really going on. We're like anybody else that reads the papers. We speculate sometimes. But I don't think it came in (the locker room) above that magnitude; just what we read.
On when the season turned sour: At the (Olympic) break we were close, and we couldn't get a win. It got harder and harder. From then on we just lost ground. It's hard to gain some ground in this league when you have three, four, five teams that are in the hunt as well. It's tough.
On the lack of accomplishment as a team: It is disappointing. People would say, 'You guys (St. Louis and Stamkos) had a good year,' but you still feel that you fell short regardless of the numbers. You felt at some point during the season we could have done more. But it's a hard league. It's not a forgiving league. Nobody is going to help you. It's a team game. It's not golf. It's 20 players that go on the ice and can dictate what happens in a game. You just felt you could have done more.
On Stamkos: It was pretty fun the last three or four games trying to get him over that mark., and for him to win that award (the Rocket Richard Trophy) with (Sidney) Crosby, I'm proud of him and he deserves it. He's a great player, and he's going to be a great player for a long time. I've had a lot of fun playing with him, and it's well-deserved.
On what he expects for himself in the last year of his contract: I want to be on a winning team. It's three years of this and (we're going back) to square one when I came here, so I want to be on a winning team. That's the biggest thing. I'm not getting any younger. I have one more year, and we'll see how it all shakes out this summer. ... I won't think about it too much until they put all the pieces in place. Then I'll assess where I'm at.
On what kind of pieces he wants: It takes more than just pieces; pieces that fit together.
On how this season's pieces did not fit: Our consistency of play was nowhere near where it needed to be. We played great for a game or two and then we would fall off for two or three or four. We were close, and then we couldn't get over the hump. It's almost like maybe we got too confident when we got close, and it kind of bit us.
Asked to comment on Lawton: I don't think I'm in position to. It goes back to when there are results like this, things are going to change. That is what happened.